French society during the 1700s was divided into three groups: the nobility, the clergy, and the peasants (99% of the French population). The nobility owned the land. The clergy protected the nobility, and enjoyed special powers and privileges. The peasants toiled in poverty.
The clergy maintained its power by lying. For example a French clergyman named Irenaeus invented the lie that all peasants were born into “original sin.” (His lie soon spread throughout Christianity).
(And no, “original sin” was never in the Bible. Indeed very few Christian beliefs actually come from the Christian Bible. )
Because of “original sin,” it was God’s will that each peasant had to toil until death for his or her owners (i.e. toil for the nobility). Failure to toil for one’s owners, and failure to grovel before clergymen like Irenaeus, meant eternal damnation.
The peasants believed this lie because it helped them to make sense of their misery. Their belief was a mental prison, but it promised a heavenly reward after one’s death, on condition that they spent their entire lives in poverty, groveling before the clergy and the nobility.
Just as each peasant was cursed at birth by “original sin,” so is each peasant today cursed at birth by the fake “national debt crisis.”
Once again such lies help the peasants make sense of their misery, while helping to also maintain the social strata. Poverty and social strata are maintained in all societies by lies that rich people use to justify their crimes, and that peasants use to justify their respective places in the pecking order. The peasants use the lies against each other, and especially against anyone they regard as “inferior.”
Lies that become ingrained in society are taboos that may not be questioned, and may not be called taboos. (Instead, they are called “common sense.”)
Each society has a nexus of norms and taboos (based on lies) that we call a “culture.” Some norms and taboos are shared by many societies. Other norms and taboos are limited to one society, or to a handful of societies. Lies about money are shared worldwide.
When lies and taboos are programmed into a peasant during their childhood, the lies form part of his identity, such that he feels personally attacked if you question his bullshit.
In adulthood we learn additional taboos as we interact with society…
Again, all societies have lies, plus taboos against exposing the lies. Taboos can be used to reveal the histories of societies when other records are lacking.
The penalty for breaking a taboo depends on your place in society. Very rich people face little or no penalties. Poor people face severe penalties. Germany will imprison you for five years if you question the “holocaust”™ nonsense, even if you are not a German national, and even if you were outside Germany when you questioned the hoax.
Most societies have a taboo against speaking the truth about government finances.
I mention all this because just now I was reading about a protest last weekend in London, led by Jeremy Corbyn, who claims to oppose austerity, but who seeks more austerity in the form of deficit reduction. The masses likewise want austerity in the form of tax increases.
The London protest was also against mass privatization, but privatization cannot be halted as long as the masses obey the taboo against admitting that government finances are infinite. It’s like having a toothache: you can’t have relief as long as society obeys a taboo against dentistry.
Taboos cause us to repeat the same thing over and over without getting anywhere. In the video below (too boring to watch) Bill Moyers says, “It’s still possible for a single book to shake the foundations, rattle clichés, upend dogma, unnerve ideologues, and arm everyday people with the knowledge they need to fight back against the predatory powers that have robbed them of their birthright as citizens.”
Moyers is talking about the book on the left which, like the book on the right, everyone talks about, but no one reads, since it’s too boring. (People leave these books on their coffee tables to show they are with the “in crowd.”)
The video below is too boring to watch, and it features the notorious liar Paul Krugman. My point is that Piketty’s book says nothing new (capitalist inequality can only be reversed through state intervention) but people buzz about it because of the taboo against speaking the truth about government finances. Truth is blasphemy. We avoid mentioning the disease so we can chatter about its symptoms forever.